Siblings, Eric & his surreal artist sister Kay, her doctor husband David, her sister-in-law Brooke along with pilot Marsh become stranded on a rugged isle face off against a supernatural beast drawn to Kay who dreams of its killings.
While trying to understand a frightening reoccurring nightmare, a pledge is coaxed into breaking into her father's department store by her sorority sisters, where a deranged killer targets the girls and their boyfriends.
Struggling artist Kay (Sarah Kendall), her husband (Frederick Flynn) and another couple (Carol Kottenbrook and Alan McRae), take an impromptu vacation to a remote island to get away from it all. Unfortunately for them, the terrible dreams that have haunted Kay since girlhood have followed her to the island. While Kay slumbers, one by one, her beloved and her friends are slowly and gruesomely picked off. Is it Kay's subconscious or is it... "The Slayer"?
Released in 1982, a time where you couldn't throw a cat (or a hammer?) without hitting a slasher film, "The Slayer" is in good company, but also stands out from the pack in a few ways. First off, unlike your "Prom Night" or "My Bloody Valentine," this film isn't about teens getting cut up. This is a movie about adults, and despite some dodgy acting here and there, these characters feel like a real, tight-knit group of people who care about each other, which makes their grisly fates even more effective. Also, this isn't exactly a body count flick. With only four characters (well, there's also the pilot who pops in and out of the plot), that pretty much goes without saying. As a result, "The Slayer" is slow and steady, and focuses on the surreal more than it does in grossing you out.
On the technical side of things, the haunting, desolated beach-side setting and the gorgeous cinematography help to keep things interesting during the movie's slower parts. Also of note are the special effects which, while few and far between, are pretty well accomplished for such a small-budget affair. They couldn't get Tom Savini, but Robert Babb does his best to keep you (ahem) hooked. Likewise, the score that serves as the backdrop to the horror adds a touch of class rarely associated with the genre.
There's a lot going on in this deceptively simple little film. Much like, say, "Phantasm," it plays with your expectations and makes you question that what you've seen was real (or at least real in the context of the film). If you watch it late at night, it will beg another viewing in the morning just to make sure you got everything. It's that kind of movie. For its modest intentions and humble origins, "The Slayer" pretty much slays. Fans of the genre who have patience for the more deliberately paced side of things won't want to sleep on this.
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